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Notre Dame Football

Ogundeji Wants Notre Dame to Use Bye Week for Stretch Run

November 16, 2020

Notre Dame's defense will be the first to say the bye week comes at a good time, but they also aren't making excuses.

The Fighting Irish allowed over 30 points in back-to-back games for the first time in Clark Lea's tenure and yet there isn't much panic coming from defensive end Ade Ogundeji. 

"We pulled out with the win and that's the number one goal," stated Ogundeji. "That was great for us. We went to a second overtime and we knew that going into this game. I don't think that was a part of it. We knew what we had to do going into this week. We knew what we had in front of us. I don't think that would be an excuse, but we just have to continue to work on the little things.

"We have to work on our standard on defense and get back on that grind."

Part of the standard will be cutting down on the unsportsmanlike penalties. It was uncharacteristic as Notre Dame had a few taunting calls, but it's an easy correction. 

"That's not the standard," Ogundeji stated. "We have to do better on that. We can't be talking after the play or doing all those things after the play. We have to play within the whistle and within the lines. We have to do a better job and we have to continue to coach and talk to the players about. That's not our standard." 

Notre Dame's defensive line depth shined bright on during Saturday's 45-31 win at Boston College. The Irish were credited with seven tackles for loss and played nine players in the rotation. 

Ogundeji believes the rotation is an advantage for the defense as it keeps the defensive line fresh. 

"We have at least eight to nine guys who can go out there and play," explained Ogundeji. "We like to rotate a bunch of guys. It keeps us fresh. There's a lot of young guys who can go in there and ball for us. 

"When we can get fresh guys to go out there, it makes us better. It helps us to go 100 percent every single play, so that's important. I feel we did a good job of getting pressure on Phil (Jurkovec), but we have to finish on the ball and finish on the sacks. We have to continue to get pressure throughout the game." 

No. 2 Notre Dame will head into the bye week 8-0 and Brian Kelly stated his team will only practice on Tuesday and Wednesday.

It's a chance for Notre Dame to get some much-needed rest, but Ogundeji also knows they can't relax with big games on the horizon. 

"We have to motivate them by saying we have games left. We still have a goal and that's an ACC Championship and a National Championships. If we want to strive to get to that, we have to work on the little things and details. We have to go into this bye week and really work on the things we have to work on."

Motivation should come easy as leadership hasn't been a problem for Notre Dame. The Irish defense has vocal leaders, while the offense has quarterback Ian Book, who has impressed just about everyone over the last five years. 

"I've been with him since our freshman year," said Ogundeji. "I've seen tremendous growth from Ian. He's a guy who just puts his head down and works. He's a humble worker and understands what he needs to work at and he perfects his craft. He does a good job of working and continuing to get better. Kudos to him and what he's been doing for the last five years." 

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